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Jim Neighbors

Founder, Focusing Forward, Inc.

Management and Governance, Human Resources


Energetic, innovative (two patents), positive, highly strategic and results-proven professional with a record of visionary leadership for the Department of Defense and U.S. Air Force marked by dramatic enterprise-wide improvements to productivity, efficiency, and cost effectiveness. I have decades of experience collaborating with top-level executives on complex, high-profile initiatives. I have successfully turned around organizations, eliminated backlogs, fixed damaged work environments, started and sustained mentoring, diversity, and executive development programs, negotiated Inter-Agency agreements, created paperless environments, implemented Strategic Plans, organized and led numerous conferences and summit meetings, spoken numerous times as a conference speaker, briefed Secretaries of Defense and Veterans Affairs, members of Congress, the White House and their staffs and championed process improvements resulting in millions in savings through technology adoption and elimination of waste. Top Secret with SCI Security Clearance (re-accomplished Jan 2017).

Core competencies in:

Selected Career Accomplishments

Founder and Content Provider University of Consulting : Aug 2020-Present

University of Consulting is an online video driven series of courses that teach and train members of the business community desiring to begin or grow business with the Federal Government. Responsible for business startup, strategy, sales/marketing, and content development.

Founder and Senior Vice-President Focusing Forward, Inc : Dec 2013-Present

Focusing Forward is a Woman Owned Small Business with three main lines of business. The first line of business provides consulting services to companies large and small seeking to gain or expand business with Federal Government. The second provides Cyber Security readiness products and services in the form of playbooks, assessment, and table top exercises to commercial industry. The third line includes strategic planning, organizational development and executive coaching.

Executive Director DOD / VA Collaboration Office, SES Tier III : Feb 2012-Nov 2013

Successfully re-energized broken collaborative relationship between Department of Defense (DOD) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Solidified trust relationship between two very diverse cultures.

DOD lead for providing support to the VA effort to reduce a 600,000 Disability Claims Backlog by 2015. Envisioned and manage highly successful support teams in Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA). Efforts briefed before Secretaries, White House and Congressional committees with positive results.

Envisioned and lead large scale Data Summits moving the DOD and VA into a paperless exchange of health, personnel and administrative data between the Departments, enabling near a real time automated transaction based future for disability claims processing. Effort is on track to save $67 million annually and complete an Inter-Agency paperless environment by December 2014.

DOD lead for Congressionally directed Joint DOD/VA Strategic Planning (JSP) process and document development. This effort creates the Strategic direction for $1 billion in healthcare and benefits partnerships and activities of the Joint, Health and Benefits Executive Committees and Inter-Agency Program office.

Principal Deputy Requirements and Strategic Integration, Office of the Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness OUSD/P&R/RSI, SES, Tier III Jul 2010-Jan 2012

Led team responsible for integration of the 30,000 members and $40 billion budget for the OUSD/P&R community, to include Assistant Secretaries of Defense for Health Affairs, Reserve Affairs and Readiness and Force Management. Led the 2011 Strategic Planning process and product, 2010 and 2011 Budget submissions, IT Portfolio management process, effort to re-engineer and consolidate the SECEF and Congressional correspondence process.

Chief Information Officer, HQ United States Air Force, HAF/IM, SES Jun 2007-Jul 2010

Responsible full range of CIO services from network requirements, information assurance, client device management, software development environment for functional and enterprise systems, mail room, and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) processing for 7,000 leadership staff of the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Air Force. Engineered cost savings of $500,000 annually by automating mailroom processes. Led the transition of the software development division from a traditional water fall model to Agile development environment which increased customer satisfaction to above 90% for two consecutive years.

Provided declassification services for 2 million pages annually of classified Air Force information releasing everything possible to the public by Presidential Executive Order 12958 while continuing to protect sources, methods and nuclear information. Designed and led automation process for reading, categorizing and bulk declassifying aging microfiche. Process and technology proven to be more accurate than the human eye and was adopted by the intelligence community as a best practice.

Led the Air Force Publications program which provides the mechanism to publish standardized instructions and guidance for 700,000+ Air Force professionals. Led award winning Graphics and Photographic Studio division supporting Headquarters Air Force leaders and OSD professionals.

Served as a member of the Pentagon Area CIO Council, Chair of the Information Technology Architecture Configuration Control Board leading the Consolidated Computing Facilities, Wireless Technology and Intrusion Detection Working Groups. Led the 15 Pentagon organizations, 25,000 members to consensus on proposed IT architectures and implementation guidance.

Developed and led the architecting and implementation of a telework environment for 200 members of the CIO Directorate in the rollout of a first ever telework program. This 2011 award winning program saves the Air Force $180,000 annually in commuter stipends, lowered the office space footprint by 60%, eliminated the requirement for parking spaces, reduced the organization’s carbon footprint by 80% and created the first (and only to date) telework hotel operating in the Pentagon.

Director, Senior Executive Management Office, AF/A1, GS-15 : Apr 2006-Jun 2007

Responsible for planning and executing the entire lifecycle of human resource processes in support of the 280 member Air Force Senior Executive Service (SES) Corps for the Secretary of the Air Force, covering all aspects of performance management, executive development and training, annual assessments, succession and transition planning and senior leader communications. Designed and executed first ever Senior Executive succession process with four star panel. Designed and executed the next generation of the Civilian Senior Leadership Program (CSLP) providing for a development path and program for high performing government middle managers. Twenty five members of this program became SESs in the first year of implementation.

Technical Director Air Force Communications Agency, AFCA/CA, GS-15 : Aug 2001-Mar 2006

Provided technical advice to the Commander of the Air Force Communications Agency on all aspects of the Air Force ground and airborne communications including large acquisition and technology insertion programs such as: Combat Information Transport System (CITS), Long Haul Communications (LHC) and the Defense Message System (DMS).

Performed as the Senior Civilian for 300 government civilians, provided authorization for hiring, firing and awards. Agency representative to local union and final authority for disputes and grievances. Developed Scope CHAMPION program implemented Air Force wide in the Communications and Information community to grow next generation of senior leader candidates.

Led the Air Force Y2K program office in a successful $2 billion effort baselining, converting, testing and developing contingency planning for the entire enterprise of Air Force computer and weapons systems in the Year 2000 conversion. Awarded the Presidential Y2K Conversion medal for this effort.

Education & Training

2011 : Lean Six Sigma Champion Training

2007 : Senior Executive Fellows Program, Harvard, Boston, MA

2004 : Master of Science, Computer Resource Management, Webster University, St Louis, MO

1997 : Air War College, in residence, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL.

1992 : Air Command and Staff College, in residence, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL.

1980 : Bachelor of Science, Earth Science / Geography, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, IL

Awards, Honors, patents & Publications

2018 : Patent approved, Serial number, 15/460,383, P024.P001U1 “Systems and Methods to Nitrogen-Infuse and Dispense Beverages”

2017 : Patent pending, Serial number 03373-90PR-US “Precision Health Insight Tool”

2013 : Secretary of Defense Medal for Meritorious Civilian Service

2013 : Secretary of Defense Award for Excellence “Veterans Employment Initiative Task Force”

2011 : Telework Exchange Tele-Vision Award “Excellence in Telework Leadership”

2011 : George C. Kenney Award Recipient

2006 : Federal Computer Week Top 100 Award

Additional Experience

Member, OPM Presidential Rank Award Review Board, 2014-Present

Chief of Staff for Ft Hood Shooting after action Task Force, Army and Air Force

By name requested by Air Force and Army Four Star Generals to serve as Chief of Staff for two SECDEF directed groups on the Ft Hood Task Force. Performed all logistics, facilities, process design, security, IT solutions, briefing and document prep and quality control review for final products.

Air Force Nuclear Accountability Task Force

In the wake of the removal of the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Air Force led the research, process and product development for the classified Air Force Nuclear Accountability Task Force.

SECDEF mandated SES reduction Task Force

Successfully led SECDEF directed downsizing of 150 Senior Executive Service (SES) members across the Department of Defense. Designed process, led selection meetings with all Services and Intelligence Community, developed briefings and developed final funding profile for cuts. Exceeded expectations by finding a total of 207 positions which were cut.